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Canadian Doctor

Tim‘s head nearly touched the low basement ceiling of Saint Ex, the DC bar where we met in the almost-dark during a dance party.


I used to recall readily why we ended up talking about birthdays, but now who knows. Anyway, I learned he was Canadian and shared my birthday - October 29th. I a year before him.


The rest is what could have been a lovely story. We ended the night with a hug in the street, then spent the next day together before he flew back to Toronto. We WhatsApped. We emailed. Very occasionally, we called.


Even less occasionally, we visited. I sometimes planned trips to see him. I other times made up excuses to be in Toronto. Or New York. Wherever he might be. Creepy, in hindsight. But he always seemed eager to spend time together when we could.


In my memory, Tim is someone I cared greatly about who played cat and mouse with me over several years and various country borders.


In reality, Tim told me early and often that he did not think this was a viable relationship. He emailed it to me. He told me to my face.


I didn’t hear it.


Not until after the last time I saw him, when I gave him a Japanese scarf I’d purchased in Tokyo, for courage in his medical exams. He had met me at the airport in Toronto on my layover en route home.


It sounds romantic. It felt that way to me. I attributed any oddness to the setting - an unfortunate food court.


Some months later, Tim shared that he was moving back to Edmonton and that he had long since had a girlfriend, who knew of me and who, Tim proudly told me, understood that his friendship with me was non-negotiable.


I was not impressed.


It has been years now since I have seen or heard from Tim. I hope he’s well. I also hope he has some passing wistful sadness for what might have been with me. In reality that’s almost definitely not happening.

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